Defying high unemployment and an economic recession, the housing market has surged during the COVID-19 pandemic. That isn’t likely to let up heading into the winter months, said Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of REALTORS® during Tuesday’s “Residential Economic Issues & Trends Forum”
Work-from-home trends drive housing preferences. More Americans are rethinking where they call home as remote work grows. About half of Americans who used to work in an office are still working from home, which has sparked widespread office vacancies in many cities, Yun said. The largest office vacancies are occurring in New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Boston. Several tech companies have announced a permanent transition to working from home for its employees. That could lead to the latest trend in moving to the suburbs to remain post-pandemic too, Yun said.
“‘Work from home’ can also now mean ‘work from vacation home,’” Yun said, noting a rise in home sales in vacation and resort areas since the pandemic.
A recent NAR survey showed that 47% of REALTORS® said their clients are interested in moving to the suburbs or a subdivision, and 39% are interested in relocating to a rural area. However, only 14% are interested in moving to an urban area or central city. Also, since the COVID-19 outbreak, home buyers have been seeking larger homes and ones that can accommodate multiple generations, according to NAR’s 2020 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Yun predicts the move to smaller cities and suburbs will continue beyond the pandemic due to a lasting work-from-home trend.
“If you don’t have to commute every day, you might not mind living further out,” he said.
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